Down­ward fac­ing goat at Fairview Wine’s kids yoga

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - ABHINANDA DATTA

GOAT yoga is a unique ex­pe­ri­ence, said Charles Back, owner of Fairview Wine and Cheese.

Af­ter first gain­ing trac­tion in the US, the an­i­mal ther­apy-meet­sex­er­cise con­cept has been grab­bing ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion, with videos go­ing vi­ral across so­cial me­dia. Th­ese ses­sions in­cor­po­rate ex­er­cise, na­ture, bond­ing with an­i­mals and a great deal of en­joy­ment.

Keep­ing th­ese in mind, Fairview Wine and Cheese started Goat Yoga ses­sions on October 7.

“As kid­ding sea­son started on our farm this spring, I had a light bulb mo­ment. I re­alised we have both the space and the baby goats to cre­ate a unique African first, and so I thought, well why not give it a try and add an­other Fairview “first” to our reper­toire? Af­ter a round table meet­ing with our goat herd, our baby goats agreed to hop on board,” Back said.

Nes­tled within the pic­turesque grounds of Fairview Wine and Cheese is the hay-stacked stu­dio space, where ev­ery Satur­day and Sun­day be­tween 9am and 10am, the baby goats par­tic­i­pate in a ther­a­peu­tic ses­sion. Their task? To cud­dle and nib­ble hu­mans while they twist their bod­ies into pos­tures, in the pur­suit of good health.

Raine Dunn of Body Po­etry con­ducts th­ese classes. She said that goat yoga com­bines two dif­fer­ent ther­a­peu­tic modal­i­ties. Both yoga and spend­ing time with an­i­mals re­duce stress and calm the mind.

“Hav­ing the baby goats around has won­der­ful ther­a­peu­tic ef­fects! You can’t help but for­get about your daily wor­ries, breathe deeper and smile when you are sur­rounded by their sweet bleat­ing and gen­tle nudges. I love see­ing the look of pure peace on my stu­dents’ faces af­ter class!” she said.

There are dog yoga classes held in Cape Town, but goats have never been used be­fore. It is an un­usual choice but Dunn said that goats are not that dif­fer­ent from dogs. They are the only other an­i­mals who wag their tails to ex­press joy!

“Most peo­ple don’t of­ten get to spend time with baby goats, so this adds a unique el­e­ment. Goats are very lov­able and cu­ri­ous crea­tures. This is my first time teach­ing goat yoga. When Charles first pitched the con­cept to me, I im­me­di­ately grasped the ben­e­fits of com­bin­ing yoga with an­i­mal ther­apy. I am find­ing it very re­ward­ing!”

Dunn started prac­tis­ing yoga at 19, and it has been a huge part of her life for the past 13 years. For years she dreamed of one day teach­ing as her call­ing is to help peo­ple heal them­selves through a holis­tic ap­proach. No spe­cial train­ing is re­quired to teach goat yoga.

The con­cept was first tested at this year’s La Capra Goat Run held in Septem­ber. They made a video and shared it on so­cial me­dia. Soon, there were over­whelm­ingly large num­bers of peo­ple with ques­tions about the next ses­sion.

This kind of yoga is in­clu­sive and seeks par­tic­i­pa­tion from all kinds of peo­ple.

“I al­ways start the class by telling my stu­dents that this will not be a very se­ri­ous yoga class! It’s all about re­lax­ation, de-stress­ing, and con­nect­ing with your­self and na­ture. I de­sign my classes to be ac­ces­si­ble for ev­ery­one from com­plete be­gin­ners to ad­vanced yo­gis,” Dunn said.

The classes will be held un­til De­cem­ber 31 and cost R100 each. They can be paid for in cash on the day. How­ever, since space is lim­ited to 25 peo­ple per class, you need to book in ad­vance by ei­ther call­ing or email­ing Dunn. More in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing this is avail­able on its event page on Face­book.

PIC­TURES: SUP­PLIED

Due to over­whelm­ing de­mand, Goat Yoga classes have been ex­tended till De­cem­ber 31.

Goat Yoga at Fairview Wine and Cheese is a good way to keep fit while a baby goat keeps you com­pany.

Baby goats are calm and com­fort­ing and that makes them great yoga com­pan­ions.

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